Lactose Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, Management

Lactose intolerance is a prevalent digestive disorder which is caused by the insufficient digestion of lactose – the sugar molecule in milk and all dairy products. This article discusses several aspects of lactose intolerance, such as what causes it, what symptoms it entails, and what management strategies can be considered, as well as risk factors linked to it. 


Lactose intolerance is an allergic reaction that is triggered by low quantity of the lactaise enzyme, produced in the small intestine. Lactase is basically an enzyme, which is the key part for transporting the lactose from a milk into much simple sugars (glucose and galactose) to blood. When lactase levels are insufficient, this compound can not be digested and finally be the reason for intestinal disorders. 


Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include:Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include: 

  • Abdominal pain or cramps 
  • Bloating 
  • Gas 
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Usually, symptoms start after 30 minutes to 2 hours of an ingestion of lactose-rich food or beverage. Consult a Gastroenterologist if you are experiencing these symptoms.


Having an efficient approach to treat lactose intolerance requires reducing or eliminating the body’s exposure to lactose but ensuring the availability of calcium and nutrients. Management strategies include:

  • Dietary modifications: Cadging or preventing the dairy foods that contain lactose such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream to a great extent as well. Consuming lactose-free dairy products or taking precautions like taking lactase enzyme supplements before doing dairy consumption are good ways to ease the symptoms.
  • Gradual reintroduction: Some people may not be very sensitive to lactose and are able to consume small amounts of lactose-containing foods without lactose intolerance symptoms. To know whether the diet is good or not, individuals can bring back the dairy products slowly and observe their symptoms, which will warrant individual tolerance levels.
  • Calcium supplementation: Calcium intakes can be maintained through these alternate methods, so dairy-free milk, leafy vegetables, tofu, and calcium supplements might be the substitutes.
  • Consultation with a dietitian: This kind of service from a registered dietitian can help in creating meals that will balance with nutritional values and management of the lactose case.

Risk Factors:

Several factors can increase the risk of developing lactose intolerance, including:Several factors can increase the risk of developing lactose intolerance, including:

  • Age: In most cases it reduces manufacturing of lactase with age, and greater ratio of this condition is observed in adults. 
  • Ethnicity: Batch of ethnic people, like Africans, Asians, Hispanic or Native Americans, are more susceptible lactose intolerance.
  • Family history: A family history of lactose intolerance may predispose individuals to the condition.
  • Underlying health conditions: Gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine can impair lactase production and increase the risk of lactose intolerance.


Lactose intolerance is a common digestive disorder in which the affected person is unable to digest lactose, which can cause significant digestive discomfort when lactose foods or beverages are consumed. There is no cure for lactose intolerance but symptoms can be reduced and managed to help individuals lead healthy lives. If you suspect you have lactose intolerance, consult a Gastroenterologist in Rawalpindi for proper diagnosis and effective management.

Leave a Comment